THURROCK Council health experts are encouraging those most at risk of HIV infection to get tested during national HIV Testing Week which starts on Saturday (22 November) and runs until 29 November.
Latest figures from Public Health England show that over 63 per cent of the 205 people living with HIV in Thurrock presented at a later stage of their infection and both these figures have increased from last year.
Early diagnosis and timely treatment can mean a near-normal life span for someone with HIV and reduces the risk of the virus being passed to other people.
HIV Testing Week is run by HIV Prevention England and managed by the Terrence Higgins Trust and partners. They have identified that men who have sex with men and Black African men and women are the two groups currently with the highest numbers of HIV infection nationally.
The council has arranged for extra walk-in sexual health clinics to make it easier for people to be tested in Thurrock during the week.
As well as the regular sessions at the Anthony Wisdom Centre in Orsett Hospital there will be morning sessions at Grays Health Centre in Brooke Road.
Debbie Maynard, Thurrock Council’s head of public health says: “We are determined to reduce the number of undiagnosed HIV infections in our area, especially among those groups most at risk.
“We hope the campaign will highlight the benefits of testing and that our extra clinics will make it easier for people to access our services.”
The local clinics open during HIV Testing Week are:
Anthony Wisdom Centre, Orsett Hospital, Rowley Road, Orsett RM16 3EU, walk in 9am to 12.30pm Monday to Friday (call 01268 592214).
Sexual and Reproductive Health Clinic, Grays Health Centre, Brooke Road, Grays, RM17 5BY, walk in 9am to 12.30pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (call 01375 898350).